Over two million children across 4,800 schools in Western and Central regions have benefitted from the Blue Band Nutrition Education campaign that aims at promoting healthy living.
The campaign is part of Blue band’s journey and commitment toward growing healthy and happy kids by equipping 100 million school-going children in Africa and Asia with education on the importance of a nutritious breakfast.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) estimates that 2 million children under the age of five in Kenya are stunted, the most frequent form of undernutrition.
“As a food and nutrition company, we play a pivotal role in people’s everyday lives. We remain committed to building our business with public health nutrition and wellbeing in mind. We believe that what goes into our product can impact people for good which is why we continually analyze and improve the nutritional content of our products to ensure our consumers can enjoy healthier lives,” Peter Muchiri, Upfield Managing Director East and Southern Africa said.
“Poor nutrition in children continues to have long-term impacts such as developmental challenges which limit child’s potential resulting in poor performance in the classroom, impaired daily health and wellbeing. For instance, Vitamins and minerals in line with UNICEF standards,” he added.
According to the ministry of health, the prevalence of severe Vitamin A deficiency in Kenya stands at 14 percent while moderate vitamin A deficiency stands at 61 Percent among children under 5 years.
Vitamin A and Mineral deficiencies have been estimated to cost Sub-saharan countries more than 2.3 billion each year in lost productivity.
To address this challenge of undernutrition and informed by the reality that porridge is a top breakfast dish for African children, Upfield introduced into the market the Blue Band Instant Porridge which is fortified with 10 vitamins and 5 minerals that are essential for the healthy growth of children in line with UNICEF standards.
“Western diets continue to be associated with an increased rate of non-communicable diseases and environmentally unfriendly practices. As a developing market, Africa is susceptible to similar pitfalls, but it is also ripe with opportunity to do better,” said Tim Verbeek, Upfield Africa, Middle East, and Asia President.
Between 2016 and 2019, the Blue Band School Program Campaign engaged with 3,990 schools, directly reaching 2.5 million children and 1.5 million mothers via USSD. Indirectly, our initiative reached 12 million kids.
In the year 2022 program, we have reached 2 million children directly across 4,800 schools in Kenya which translates to educating 6 million children indirectly.
“In keeping with the digital time, we have developed Breakfast Squad, an online digital game that will provide kids with an entertaining way to continue learning about the importance of a good breakfast,” concluded Verbeek.